Hey there Grumpy Dad fans, I have a very exciting announcement. My grumpy dad, you know the person who regales you with ridiculous stories with subjects ranging from sports to Jimmy John's sandwiches?
Well, that man wrote a book, and it's called "A Season in Pluto".
I had the pleasure of reading it before anyone else, and I can say in a completely unbiased way that it's awesome! I also designed the cover, which is pretty rad too.
As per his instruction, he wanted all of his friends on Vingle to get a sneak peek of the book, because we're all family here and that's important.
A Season in Pluto
Mike Page stood on the top step of the dugout. He was calm, though his left hand gripped the green railing a little tighter than it had in the sixth inning, when his team was cruising, 5-2. Now it was 5-4 in the top of the seventh after a bases-loaded single had scored two and left runners at first and third with one out. His right hand lifted his cap and scratched his head with the royal blue bill. It wasn’t a sign to his defense or a display of confusion. It was simply a scratch, a natural reaction to an itch—a logical part of a sequence that would soon end with the cap back on his head.
Mike would have taken great comfort from that, considering all the illogical and out-of-sequence events he’d witnessed in the previous sixty days, except that his mind was otherwise occupied. He was trying to win the state softball championship on May 31 with a program that had been a shambles on March 31.
His view from Firestone Stadium’s third base dugout included a glorious blue sky and an ancient, steel-beamed grandstand jammed with screaming fans from Pluto and Warren Champion high schools. Mike could have been staring at that sky, daydreaming about his accomplishments—the 27-0 record and the conference and regional titles in his first season as a high school coach—but he wasn’t. Nor was he paying very close attention, just then, to the situation on the field.
Instead, he was staring at his second baseman, Bree Fenner, and marveling at her tenacity and strength. He was thinking how easily she could have quit—and not just softball. It was no less than miraculous that she’d survived the past six years.
“Coach! Hey, coach!” his assistant shouted, finally attracting his attention. “You might want to make a trip and talk defense.”
“Yeah. You’re right,” Mike agreed, shaking his head and replacing his cap. “Time!”
The umpire threw up his hands to stop the game as Mike walked to the pitcher’s circle feeling confident and somehow in control of a volatile situation. Failure is the result of ignoring the need for preparation. His father used to say that—usually after Mike had failed at something.
The worst of the failure speeches had come after Mike’s team lost the district title in 1974 when he threw an 0-2 fastball down the middle to Washington High’s best hitter. It was the last inning of a 1-1 championship game. Benji Williams hit a walk-off home run that ended Mike’s senior season.
“What the hell were you thinking?” His father wanted to know. Forty years later, Mike’s answer popped into his mind as he stood in the pitcher’s circle. ‘I wasn’t.’ Everybody fails from time to time, he thought—but my players will never say they weren’t thinking. Of that, he was certain.
Still, Mike was who he was—and that meant he was seconds from launching into a two-minute speech covering every possible scenario—just in case his group of teenage girls had lost focus. But first, he stopped and stared into the bleachers above his dugout. His focus had shifted to a beautiful blonde woman in her fifties. She stared back and waved. He started to raise his hand, but quickly shoved it into his pocket.
As he turned to greet his infielders, he realized that this moment wasn’t just about a game. It was about his past and his future and all the things he’d learned about them during a strange and deadly spring in a rural Ohio town called Pluto.
So what do you guys think? Grumpy Dad would love your opinion!
It is available for purchase here on Amazon, so if you've got a Kindle, you'll probably want to pick it up. Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can read it with a free app on your iPhone or computer.